Prue Leith’s Raspberry & Salted Caramel Éclairs

Prue’s éclairs are sure to put you in the running for the top prize at the next charity bake off. The choux makes enough for ten éclairs – bake them all, then make up six and freeze the remainder, or make double the quantity of filling and generously fill them all.

Makes: 6
Difficulty: Challenging
Hands-On Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Baking Time: 30 mins
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Step 1
Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5. Draw ten 12cm-long lines, equally spaced apart, on the underside of the sheet of baking paper lining your baking sheet.

Step 2
Make the choux pastry. Sift both types of flour and the sugar onto a sheet of baking paper.

Step 3
Put the milk, butter and salt into a saucepan with 65ml water and heat gently until the butter melts – don’t let the water boil before the butter has melted. Then, quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in the flour and sugar mixture in one go. Remove from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon.

Step 4
Return the pan to a low heat and continue to beat the dough for 4–5 minutes, until it is glossy and cleanly leaves the sides of the pan. The dough should cook slightly and dry out. Tip the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer and leave to cool until just warm.

Step 5
With the mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition until smooth and the batter reluctantly drops off a spoon. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag with the closed star nozzle and pipe ten 12cm lines, using the drawn lines as a guide.

Step 6
Bake on the middle shelf for 25–30 minutes, opening the oven door halfway through to release the steam, until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven, prick the bases with a wooden skewer and cool on a wire rack. (Once cooled, you can freeze four of the buns.)

Step 7
Make the crème pâtissière. Bring the milk and cream to the boil in a pan, then remove from the heat.

Step 8
Whisk the sugar, egg yolks and cornflour in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk on medium speed until combined. Pour a little of the hot milk mixture onto the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well combined, then return to the pan. Cook the mixture over a gentle heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens to a thick custard consistency.

Step 9
Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted and thoroughly combined. Cover with cling film and set aside.

Step 10
Start to make the salted caramel. Heat the sugar in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, shaking the pan from time to time without stirring, until the sugar dissolves and turns a dark amber colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Step 11
Make the caramelised hazelnuts. Stick the end of a wooden skewer into the side of each hazelnut, taking care not to split the hazelnut. Place a heavy chopping board on the edge of a work surface and a sheet of baking paper on the floor beneath it. One at a time, gently dip the hazelnuts in the caramel until coated, then place the skewers under the chopping board overhanging the work surface and let the caramel drip off the hazelnut in a long strand (the baking paper will catch the drip). Leave to cool and set, then gently remove the skewer and trim the strands of caramel so that all three are the same length.

Step 12
Return the caramel pan to a low heat and add the butter, stirring to combine. Add the cream and stir continuously to a dark, golden, thick sauce. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and leave to cool.

Step 13
Make the raspberry purée. Tip the raspberries and sugar into a small pan and crush with a potato masher. Cook over a medium heat for 3–5 minutes, until the raspberries release their juices and the liquid thickens. Remove from the heat and pass through a clean sieve into a bowl, scraping the purée from the underside of the sieve. Leave to cool.

Step 14
Divide the crème pâtissière equally between 2 bowls, then fold the raspberry purée into one bowl until thoroughly combined. Cover the surface with baking paper to stop a skin forming and chill until required.

Step 15
Fold 75g of the cooled salted caramel and the vanilla extract into the other bowl of crème pâtissière until thoroughly combined. Cover as before and chill until required.

Step 16
Make the salted caramel icing. Mix the remaining salted caramel with the fondant icing sugar until stiff, smooth and glossy. Spoon into the medium piping bag fitted with a large ribbon nozzle. Set aside.

Step 17
Make the glaze. Tip the sugar into a pan with 150ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, without stirring, for 5 minutes, until syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside. Pour 2 tablespoons of the syrup into a small bowl and reserve.

Step 18
Sprinkle the gelatine over 100ml water in a small heatproof bowl and leave to stand for 2–3 minutes, until softened and swelled (bloomed). Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally until the gelatine dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir into the sugar syrup in the pan. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl (at least the length of an éclair), then stir in the edible gold powder. Leave to cool and thicken slightly.

Step 19
To assemble the éclairs, make 2 small holes in the base of each éclair with the tip of a small, sharp knife.

Step 20
Spoon the raspberry crème pâtissière into the piping bag fitted with a jam syringe and pipe three of the éclairs full of raspberry filling.

Step 21
Spoon the salted caramel crème pâtissière into the second piping bag fitted with a jam syringe and pipe three of the éclairs full of salted caramel filling.

Step 22
Pipe the salted caramel icing neatly on top of the salted caramel-filled éclairs, then dip them into the gold glaze to coat the icing. (If the glaze has started to set before you dip the éclairs, simply warm it over a pan of gently simmering water.) Transfer to a wire rack to set. Once set, decorate each one with a caramelised hazelnut.

Step 23
For the raspberry éclairs, on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour, roll out the red fondant to 1.5–2mm thick and cut three 12 x 2.5cm-wide strips. Trim the ends of each strip into a curve the same shape as the ends of the éclairs. Brush the raspberry éclairs with some of the reserved sugar syrup, then stick a fondant strip on top of each one. Tip the freeze-dried raspberry powder onto a plate. Brush the top of the fondant with the sugar syrup, then dip into the powder to coat.

Step 24
Mix the 50g fondant icing sugar with enough water to make a stiff, pourable icing, then spoon into the piping bag fitted with a writing nozzle. Pipe 4 lines along the length of each raspberry éclair and decorate with white sprinkles. Finally, decorate with a halved raspberry topped with a little edible gold leaf.